It can’t come quick enough. For those non runners amongst any readers, a taper is not a candle (although yes, technically it is). In running parlance, it’s the two/three weeks before a big run when you can start to cut back on your distance running in order to preserve your legs and avoid injury or as I once saw it described “an opportunity for the mind and legs to rest, recover and prepare”.
Yes, I know it’s just the lull before the storm but I’m looking forward to missing out the long run, or just the fact that the long run becomes a short run (in comparison).
In theory I have only three more weeks of trying to push myself closer to that 21k mark. And then I can cut back to 5/6k runs. I’m aiming to get as close to 19k as I can during “training” and then rely on sheer willpower to get me across the finish line on the day. I seem to recall the last few kilometres of Paddock Wood are through a residential area so perhaps I can focus on the nice houses and front gardens and hope that distracts me (or was that a different race!?).
Yesterday I tried to do my long run, my Jantastic target this week is 16.5k. I try to get it out of the way as soon as possible because then I know it’s done and dusted, and yesterday the elements seemed to be in my favour - opportunity and weather all looking good. But, guess what, too hot! It’s not the end of February yet and I’m already complaining that it’s too hot. Heaven help me come July/August.
I started off with good intentions, had my route in mind but I veered off that route after 6k to avoid running up “Tollgate Hill” which I thought would beat me. So I went off down another reasonably flat road (Wrotham Road) albeit knowing that if you go down, at some point you have to go up. I was just banking on the going up (Singlewell Road) not being quite as steep as the going up being avoided.
I’m not too sure what happened but at 8.5k I gave up. I’m putting this down to one of four things.
Possible dehydration - I’d not drunk much in the previous 18 hours and I hadn’t taken any water with me despite knowing I was going to be out for some time.
The “heat” - I had decided to be brave and on departure had only adorned two layers as opposed to the current usual of three but I had to shed one of those layers part way around and my naked arms were exposed to daylight for the first time this year. When I say that I don’t mean my arms haven’t seen daylight so far this year, they just haven’t seen outside daylight. Phew, that would be a bit smelly!
Lack of music - I usually use music to distract me when running on my own but Paddock Wood is a no music zone and I decided I’d better get in practice running longer distances in relative silence.
And then finally possibly the real culprit – my attitude!!!
Yes, I have been dreading this run all weekend even though it was only an extra 1500m up on last week’s long run and I managed that okay. I even tried telling myself, “16.5k – that’s three parkruns and a little bit”. I knew it had to be done and have literally spent hours thinking of all the different routes I could do to get to the target – and even then I didn’t follow any of the routes I’d dreamed up!
At the end of the day, I knew it was going to be tough, so it was tough and therefore I gave up and failed. No amount of motivational runners’ quotes was going to save me yesterday. So now the distance is still hanging over me and I have 4 days left in which to try again. I think next time I’ll have to go for an out and back route, no “if I just go around this bit and then back along that bit” tactics. I might have to run out to Higham and back (that was the original route). From memory that’s about the right distance although a bit undulating. But at least I can admire the views of the Thames and Essex en route and try to work out whether those things I can see on the horizon from my bedroom window are derricks or something altogether more sinister!